Prepper Forum / Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Was wondering whats better, distilled or drinking, thought about getting soem every week, and stashing. they both seem to be about 1 dollar per gallon at my local safeway. heres something I pulled up.
The Red Cross, FEMA, your county Emergency Management all say to have a minimum of 2 weeks worth of water and food stored - why do you think that is?

I go to the Washington Emergency Management Conferences. When there is a disaster in WA State, I work at the Emergency Operation Center and then at the JFO (the Joint Field Office where WA State and FEMA are set up to manage the disaster).

What do you suppose is the number one, most important thing at the top of the agenda for all these people during the first few days? Making sure you have water to drink and food in your tummy? Nope. It is finding out where the hardest hit areas are, getting the different agencies all working together, working their fannies off to get an infrastructure set up ASAP so they will be able to provide the help to those who were hardest hit.

The municipalities, the counties, the State and FEMA have to be working together following strict guidelines. The Red Cross jumps in right away, but until all the infrastructure is in place (and FEMA can do the impossible in 3 days when it comes to setting up a base of command in a disaster), only the life threatening cases are going to be taken care of (in a best case scenario).

During that time, you need to be your own rescuer if at all possible. You need to have water and food or you have to go to a Red Cross shelter. With the pandemic threats nowadays, staying away from very populated shelters could be a very good thing.

If something BIG happens like a big storm or big earthquake or big bird flu or big whatever, you are going to be ON YOUR OWN for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If it was something REALLY BIG, you could be "on your own" for quite a while. They (government officials, emergency management people, police, etc.) only want to know about you if your life is in peril, in which case, all effort would be made to assist you.

If any of the scenarios talked about for the Bird Flu come to pass, they may only be able to remove the dead, for there would be nothing that could be done for those still alive. It's not that they don't care about your fate, it's just logistics and need.

I don't think most people understand just how "on their own" they would be - it is so easy, so natural to be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the fridge is full, that there's a new movie out, that the gas stations are open, and Safeway and Walmart are just down the street. There may be a few complaints, but on the whole, all is right with the status quo world, right? And who wants to think about being inconvenienced, about having their accustomed comfort zone interrupted? Not many. It's much easier to ignore the whole thing (or to say you don't want to create it or draw it to you by thinking about it).

Really, I'm almost to the part where I talk about the long term water storage, I just wanted to say a little about the why of it. Some folks might get the idea that the only people saying you should store water are those who think the world might come to an end in the year 2012 or at the Second Coming (for Christians, New Agers and those that listen to late night radio). Instead I want you to know that some very practical, sensible, level headed professional type people are saying the same thing. And in addition, they are having meetings and conferences to figure out not only what they have to do, but also how to get you, the public, to store water and food and get your family prepared, and maybe even help a neighbor or two to boot. One thing they have figured out is that it isn't easy to get the public (which is any of us not at their meetings) to prepare themselves to be self reliant for even as short a time as two weeks. God only knows what would happen to us if we had to be self-sufficient for 2 months, 6 months or a year!

You say "Well it kinda makes sense, but it'd probably cost lots of money and I don't have lots of money cause I don't make much and after I pay the bills there's hardly anything left"…(enter violins). Or you say "Gee, take care of it myself? OK, I'm game. What do I do?" And I say "WATER! You store WATER!"
How much? In what? Now we are at the part about long term water storage!

HOW MUCH WATER?

For drinking purposes - 1/2 gallon per person per day - is what you should store if you're going to live on sandwiches, canned foods etc. If you are going to prepare food like rice, beans, soups and the like (and hence will need water for preparation and to clean out the pot and utensils) you should store another 1/2 gallon per person per day. The one gallon per person per day equation will only allow minimal personal hygiene, although with a Solar Shower you can take a thorough shower, including washing your hair, with around 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of water. The bottom line is you need a bare minimum of one gallon per person per day. If you don't mind being a stinky smelly Sue after a few days, with nasty greasy grimy hair and a head that itches like crazy (and we won't even GO to the other end of the body!), you might want to figure 2 gallons per person per day, especially if you live with someone who isn't used to smelling you from 10 feet away.

STORE IT IN WHAT?

When it comes to having extra water on hand, one of the first things people think of is the one gallon jugs of water seen on grocery store shelves. It comes in two 'flavors' - drinking water and distilled water, and the manufacturers say this water has a one-year shelf life. I knew that schools were buying plastic bottled water to put in some of their classrooms, and people were buying water (or using empty milk jugs to store water) for emergencies. However, I noticed that a jug of distilled water that I had had for about 9 months (unopened and stored in a dark, cool pantry) tasted icky when I drank it. I called the manufacturer to find out about this one-year shelf life story. The receptionist, though speaking with authority, was uninformed as to actual facts. Luckily, I knew enough to know she didn't know enough, and I got the specialist!

First of all, the containers are made from a low density plastic which is very porous. The plastic is more affected by UV and heat than a high density plastic. It will start to break down much quicker than a high density plastic and will leach chemicals into the water. The plastic will become brittle more quickly and the water will have a tendency to absorb odors and tastes. Also, distilled water will "pull" chemicals out of the plastic faster than will normal drinking water.

So what does this mean in real life? It means if you're going to store this type of bottled water, don't buy the distilled water, buy the drinking water as it will store longer before leaching chemicals into the water. Buy 4 jugs at once STILL IN THE BOX and leave them in the box. By not exposing the plastic to light you will prolong the breakdown of the plastic and thus the storage life. Also, store the box somewhere that isn't super hot (shouldn't be a problem in the state of Washington, not so in Texas), like the floor of your coat closet or linen closet. Unopened, still in the carton, not hot, bottled drinking water should store 1 to 2 years without a problem. Then get rid of it and start over (or you could rotate it every six months).

If you are cleaning out milk jugs for water storage, wash thoroughly with soap and water, rinse well and then rinse out with a solution of bleach and water to kill any bacteria still in the container. Store in a dark place and change the water every 6 months. The jugs will become brittle after a while so you will have to change jugs every so often. [Please note that empty milk containers are NOT recommended for storing water. Just too much danger of contamination.]

Better than one gallon jugs are high density food grade plastic containers that hold 4, 5 or 7 gallons of water made specifically to hold water. These (especially the opaque, or colored ones) are much more UV resistant and will hold up for years and many have spigots on them. Water in these will have to be changed every 6 months or treated with a water preserver.

And of course, now that we know some plastic has BPA in it (and BPA is bad) we need to find out if the plastic our water is in is BPA free….

WATER BARRELS

For larger amounts of water, you can use new or used food grade plastic barrels which come in various sizes (most common are the 15, 55 & 60 gallon sizes). Used barrels are just as good as new ones (which cost 2 to 3 times as much as a used one) as long as you know what was in them and you clean them properly. If it was apple juice, soy sauce, or another food you'd eat this is fine. If it was lemon floor wax or degreaser or a chemical, this is not fine. If you found a great deal on some barrels at a garage sale but the person can't really say what was in them, forget them. Don't store water in new or used garbage cans because the plastic is not "food grade". You will definitely get nasty things in the water you do not want in your body. For cleaning out used barrels, see our Barrel Washing Instructions.

To get the water out of the barrels, there are several models of pumps that are designed to be screwed into the small opening (bung) in the top of the barrel, plus special (bung) wrenches for opening and closing these barrels. For the barrels where the top screws on or snaps off, the water can be dipped out or pumped out.

For really large amounts of water (it's all relative), there are above ground and below ground water tanks which hold anywhere from 500 gallons to 1500 gallons. The larger the size the more economical it is per gallon -- it's a way better deal to buy a 1350 gallon above ground tank than a 500 gallon above ground tank. Below ground (full and partial burial) tanks generally cost more than the above ground models as they need more structural strength, a little more plastic, etc. To get the water out of an above or below ground tank there are many methods you can use including gravity flow, a cistern hand pump, a 12 volt pump or small pump run by a generator. Which method you use would depend on your particular place.

WATER PRESERVER

You need to change the water every 6 months unless you put some sort of water preserver in it. Then it will stay "good" for up to 5 years. Aerobic 07, Aerobic Oxygen and Water Preserver are several brands available. If you use Aerobic 07, Aerobic Oxygen or Water Preserver you use 1 oz. per 55 gallon barrel and the product will keep the water "good"for 5 years, if you keep the water upright and leave the lid on the container so no new germs can get in.

If you don't want to spend the money for the long term water preserver, you can just change the water every six months. You should also add Clorox to inhibit growth of algae and germs, but make sure you use the unscented Clorox or a generic brand of chlorine bleach from the grocery store, not the kind of chlorine you put in swimming pools - it usually has other stuff in it that you don't want in water you're going to drink. When using Clorox, you put 3 tablespoons of Clorox bleach to a 55 gallon barrel of water. If you have small containers, use 10 drops per gallon of water.

HOW TO STORE WATER

To store your water, first make sure the container or barrel is scrubbed clean of whatever used to be in it. Then rinse it with a mixture of water and bleach -- about a tablespoon (or a "quick glug") to 1/2 gallon of water for smaller containers or about 1/2 cup (or a "few glugs") to a couple of gallons of water for barrels -- this part doesn't have to be exact. Make sure to get the bleach mixture on all the interior surfaces as well as the lids and threads. Rinse again with plain water to remove excess bleach, then fill with your "good" water. Add your water preserver or bleach while the container is filling so it mixes well, and close the lid. That's all there is to it.

Just an idea: if you are storing water in 55 gallon barrels put them where you want them before you fill them because they will weigh about 450 lbs. when full. Also, make sure you don't fill the water all the way to the top. Leave some headroom for expansion so if the water freezes your containers won't split (about 4-5 inches in barrels and half that for smaller containers). For a large water tank it is not always practical to rinse with bleach and water before filling. Oh well, that's life. Rinse it out as best you can, fill with water, add your preserver and be thankful you have so much water, the elixir of life.

Teri Simpson is the owner of Optimum Preparedness located in Yelm, WA. For any questions regarding water storage or other information mentioned in this article, please contact Optimum Preparedness at: [email protected]

Policies Contact Us About Us

Copyright © 2013 Optimum Preparedness. All Rights Reserved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
anyone use the commercial water preservers talked about, or just bleach? I remember the 8-10 drops per gallon, and shake it up, and let it air out. But wouldnt that be for some fresh water source, or do you guys think thats the right amount for "store baught water too?"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Store bought water is stored in plastic containers made with a chemical BPA. If these containers are exposed to the sun/heat, the BPA leaches into the water and well, us. I would use Brita type charcoal filters to process tap water and store the water in containers not made with BPA. I would still have a backup water treatment method for river water or rain water, ditch water ect. I would look for old water cooler bottles made of glass. Or plastics that are labled BPA free. Hope this helps.

punch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
yes sir, im working on a few ideas for water treatment, I live very close to a river, but want some water storage options. and at 1 per gallon, i wanted to store about 20 just inside the house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
I have several methods for cleaning the water. First off - if I have water stored for a very long time, I would probably just go ahead and boil it to be safe before drinking. But I also store bottles of Iodine and other water purification tablets. I keep bags of charcoal and sand as well on hand in case I need to make a filter. Other than that I keep a fair amount of water in the house - don't forget your water heater has a good amount of water in it. Not to mention I have 100 gallons worth of water in my fish tanks too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
938 Posts
I use these portable 6.5-gallon containers, and fill them up with PUR end-of-faucet filtered tap water for drinking. They are easy to handle and transport, designed to store water for extended periods, and can be purchased at Wal-Mart in the Camping section. I also buy bottled water, along with 2-liter soft drinks, green tea, etc. These work great, and can be stored empty until you need to fill them up to cut down on maintenance/hygiene issues.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
I have several methods for cleaning the water. First off - if I have water stored for a very long time, I would probably just go ahead and boil it to be safe before drinking. But I also store bottles of Iodine and other water purification tablets. I keep bags of charcoal and sand as well on hand in case I need to make a filter. Other than that I keep a fair amount of water in the house - don't forget your water heater has a good amount of water in it. Not to mention I have 100 gallons worth of water in my fish tanks too.
Make sure you have activated charcoal. Otherwise you can aalways make it. Its available pretty cheap.

punch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
You state that chemicals are leached from the bottles (which is true). Why,then,do you recommend using them?

Also,water does not go "bad" if kept away from contaminents. I've stored it for years

A few months or years in a musty basement will result in musty-tasting, but not unsafe, water. "I'm not aware of any issue that would make them nonconsumable," says Dr. Sam Beattie, a food safety extension specialist at Iowa State University.

Your best bet for long term storage is to use Mylar bags--like inside 5 gal buckets
Hey douche-bag, if you can re-read my post you will see that I reccomended using glass containers or plastic containers that are BPA-free. Its sad that you dedicate such time and effort to comment on my every post. I don't even get upset but when I do get the urge to respond I think to myself... (punch, what could you do to make O's miserable existence any worse that it already is? And the the answer, quite simply is nothing.) I do feel simpathy for anyone who has the misfortune of being in close proximity of you and your tripe.
You substitute others research and intelligence for your own to have the appearance of an actually coherant thought. when all you really live for is to draw attention to yourself crying out, "Like me, like me, like me! Well... we don't... And here's you sign.

punch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
THANKS PUNCH. I like the glass idea, as I can store a lot of water under my houses crawlspace.
Question- are the 5 gallon jugs the "water man" brings to the office bpa free? And, I put in a suggestion, and the company i work for paid me a 50 bonus, and switched to filter/light purification system. saved them a lot of ching-ching, my crew was drinking 25 Five gallon bottles a week.
So, if they are bpa free, I can purchase them from the water company at my companies price(full), but, it may be cheaper tofill them myself. (thank goodness the waterguy loves jerky too...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I use these portable 6.5-gallon containers, and fill them up with PUR end-of-faucet filtered tap water for drinking. They are easy to handle and transport, designed to store water for extended periods, and can be purchased at Wal-Mart in the Camping section. I also buy bottled water, along with 2-liter soft drinks, green tea, etc. These work great, and can be stored empty until you need to fill them up to cut down on maintenance/hygiene issues.

havent seen them yet, I like the design. Do you member how much they were? Ill check them out in store soon. Thankssss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
938 Posts
havent seen them yet, I like the design. Do you member how much they were? Ill check them out in store soon. Thankssss.
I paid $6.97 for these, which is the off-season (end of winter) price. Normally, these are $9.97.

Not every store stocks them, but you can order them and get "ship to store" free shipping for in-store pickup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Good article, well thought out and researched though a bit long.
Anyway my 2 coppers worth is

Get a Berkley Water filter, yes they run about $250 but far cheaper than storing 250 gallons of water and less space.

Bleaching water is a good plan but bleach has a 2 year shelf life, I suggest looking into "pool shock" which is calcium hypochlorite in dry form and keeps for years. 1 pound treats 10000 gallons of water for about $3, make sure you don't buy the shock with algicides or fungicides, the closer to 100% pure the better. If you treat with bleach, let it sit for a day and most of the bleach will evaporate out of the water and remove the taste.

I too have some emergency water stored, a 5 gallon bucket with a Milar bag is a cheap way to store it, plus you can never have too many buckets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks MR, will have to check on the Berkley Water filter.
THanks V... Iwould have purchased them if I saw them on sale...My weakness is a sale sign... I see something for sale, I try to figure out how to incorporate it...Sometimes my criptonite...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
THANKS PUNCH. I like the glass idea, as I can store a lot of water under my houses crawlspace.
Question- are the 5 gallon jugs the "water man" brings to the office bpa free? And, I put in a suggestion, and the company i work for paid me a 50 bonus, and switched to filter/light purification system. saved them a lot of ching-ching, my crew was drinking 25 Five gallon bottles a week.
So, if they are bpa free, I can purchase them from the water company at my companies price(full), but, it may be cheaper tofill them myself. (thank goodness the waterguy loves jerky too...)
Thats a good question. I'll check in to it. If you water guy knows please pass it on. Great thread.

punch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
682 Posts
Holy thread dredge! I'm going to ask a question. I want to store a 30 day supply of water in my basement. Was looking for about a 325 gallon container that I could fill from my well, do not have muni system available. I'm figuring that is a 30 day supply for me being very generous @ 10 gal per day. Looking at my house as an overall system, thinking that my biggest problem w/o power for up to 30 days is water. Can heat with NG, already have a 40 gal hot water tank and a 125 gal hold tank for the well water purification system, so maybe not needing to buy a 325 gal tank. Looked at a clear white plastic tank from Tractor Supply, $600! Gotta be a better bulk storage option. Don't want multiple location tanks in the house, 1 shot only deal.
 

·
Senior Member R.I.P.
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
GasholeWillie, you probably won't have an opening large enough to get a tank that large into the basement. 55gal barrels raised on concrete blocks would be a better choice I believe. Drill a hole & mount a ball valve at the bottom of each. Easy test is draw a glass of water & if you can't detect the slightest hint of bleach add some unscented Clorox bleach to the top.
 

·
Senior Member R.I.P.
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
I have mutiple means to purify water. Both Clorox bleach & pool shok. Doulton ceramic filters with activated charcoal. And a LP BBQ grill with side burner that I can boil water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
682 Posts
GasholeWillie, you probably won't have an opening large enough to get a tank that large into the basement. 55gal barrels raised on concrete blocks would be a better choice I believe. Drill a hole & mount a ball valve at the bottom of each. Easy test is draw a glass of water & if you can't detect the slightest hint of bleach add some unscented Clorox bleach to the top.
Good point. I already have 160(120 tank 40 hot water tank) gal in 2 hold tanks. The 120 gal tank has not been carbon filtered but was chlorine treated so it might have a pool water taste to it, never tried it. The way it works is water from well gets treated, softened, chlorinated and stored in the system. Upon being pumped thru the house for use it gets carbon filtered. Now I'm thinking that 3,4 55 gal tanks of stored water would be enough for 30 days. Thinking of building up a platform out of treated deck stock lumber so that each tank is a few feet off the floor, easier to access, with a spigot on each tank and capable to attach a hose to for draining.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top